While Scottish panto legend Johnny McKnight, who writes the pantomimes for both the Macrobert in Stirling and the Tron in Glasgow, usually conforms to panto conventions with his scripts, he always finds pointed ways of subverting them.
This year the Tron has the man himself in residence, directing and starring in the title role of Dame Mammy Goose. With little in the way of plot, McKnight has plenty of scope for the usual local references, topical gags and sweetie showers. He dominates proceedings when on stage but gives his cracking cast free rein. There’s audience interaction and plenty of original songs, written by Ross Brown, that serve the show well.
Darren Brownlie, as Mammy Goose’s son Jack, combines a dancer’s flexibility with great timing and audience rapport. Julie Wilson Nimmo dons the goose costume as his adopted sister, Lucy Goose, a more prominent role than the usual golden-egg laying machine.
Lauren Ellis-Steele is all glamour, big eye makeup and an even bigger singing voice as evil voodoo-using Vanity Visage, while Ryan Ferrie plays her unloved son and hunky sidekick, Will.
Pantomime convention dictates that the two children of darkness and of light should fall for each other – reconciling the two warring sides in marriage. This is precisely what McKnight delivers and soon Jack and Will are making moon eyes at each other.
With Kenny Miller’s glitter-fest of a set, Mammy Goose is a gleeful celebration of life and love that is all the more powerful for refusing to make a big deal of its central love affair.